Once Bitten, Twice Shy!

So I happened upon this web article and it stated that 76% of all books published in 2009 were by self-published authors. The author explained that large publishing houses had started losing momentum due to the demise of traditional brick and mortar book stores. Oh, how I love democracy and the power of consumer spending to invoke change. But just as I was comfortably settling into the notion that the generalized stigma towards self-published authors had finally been eradicated, it happened. The article opened an old wound. The author referred to self-published books as a sort of vanity press.
As a self-published author, I am more than a little bit offended at the notion of having the blood, sweat and tears of my literary work, likened to the self-gratifying badges that people place on back of their cars. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing the soccer mom whose license plates read: HOT Mama. However, I believe that the courage to share one’s life story hardly reeks of vanity. Now, I’m sure some of you reading this might think it a little sensitive to whine about a mere rhetorical reference made by some “vanity” free-lance blogger. Sensitive as it may be, I have been and will always be an advocate for people who attempt to influence the world through pen and paper versus bullets and guns.
In my humble opinion, I think referring to self-published authors as vanity writers is a colorful way of dismissing our work without even turning a page. It is a prejudicial way of telling us that our voice is (insufficient) for print- especially if it is not authenticated by a famous life style, political scandal, or tragedy of epic measures.
But there are still a few of us, who read for the love of the literary journey and not for propaganda. So, if you must compare us to any thing- compare the self-published author to the undiscovered shores of an exotic island. Or, compare us to a hidden treasure deep in the ocean blue. Better yet, liken us to other self-published authors whose work preceded their notoriety. Compare our unsung value to the ever-growing list of independent pioneers:
Deepak Chopra
Gertrude Stein
Zane Grey
Upton Sinclair
Carl Sandburg
Ezra Pound
Mark Twain
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Stephen Crane
Bernard Shaw
Anais Nin
Thomas Paine
Virginia Wolff
e.e. Cummings
Edgar Allen Poe
Rudyard Kipling
Henry David Thoreau
Benjamin Franklin
Walt Whitman
Alexandre Dumas
William E.B. DuBois
Beatrix Potter
(Thanks to Dan Poynter’s website for this info; see http://www.parapublishing.com)

2 thoughts on “Once Bitten, Twice Shy!

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